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Traditional data centre skills may be in high demand in the new hybrid world

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With a plethora of articles predicting the end of the traditional data centre – Gartner suggests 80% of enterprises will shut down their traditional centre by 2025. Vicky Glynn of Brightsolid says it’s easy to be concerned for those working in the industry. However, the skills of those with data centre experience are a perfect match for the challenges of the new hybrid world.

Organisations with a history of providing managed hosting services can address the needs of large, complex enterprise customers, probably more so than ‘born in the cloud’ service providers. This is largely due to the skills these organisations have accumulated in the management of data centres, and those who have worked in this environment should feel encouraged by this.

RightScale’s most recent State of the Cloud survey highlights the top cloud challenges as:

  • Security, governance/control, compliance
  • Managing cloud spend
  • Lack of resources/expertise
  • Managing multiple clouds
  • Performance


Trends in Cloud Data Security: The Data Perimeter of Hybrid Clouds, an ESG survey, also revealed that 75% of IT and cybersecurity professionals believe that ‘more than 20% of their organisation’s sensitive data stored in public cloud services is insufficiently secured.’ In parallel, security, governance/control and compliance are a cornerstone of success in the hybrid world.

Organisations angling towards a hybrid strategy should therefore seek out people with experience and skills of running traditional data centres because they are well versed in managing security, and more importantly, they literally wrote the books on many of the standards that companies rely on today (e.g. ISO standards written by industry technical bodies).

These data centre teams have become proficient in creating tangible ways of defending against security risks and demonstrating to stakeholders how best practice compliance standards are met.

It’s not difficult to see how these skills will be vital in a hybrid world, building confidence in virtual security to the same level of confidence that organisations have in the physical security of their data.

Managing a data centre also involves significant coordination of a wide variety of suppliers with diverse specialisms and skill sets – consider the delivery and installation of air conditioning, fire suppression, building systems, etc, that a data centre manager engages in.

As technology continues to accelerate, it’s more difficult for organisations to continually recruit and retain such skills internally. Successful organisations will be those that have employees who can continually evaluate and build high performing relationships with specialists in new areas, rather than simply those with relevant skill sets.

Data centre teams have already developed this capability as they rely on experts from a wide range of disciplines to provide services and orchestrate these suppliers to deliver a homogenised solution.

It seems an easy step to redirect those skills to manage the wide range of pure cloud and cloud management providers into an orchestrated hybrid cloud solution.

Ensuring performance is one of the tenets of the data centre. The impact of a data centre outage is significant, and in today’s world, it’s sufficiently rare that it can be newsworthy. SLAs that commit to 100% uptime are not uncommon in the commercial data centre world and the expectation on the internal corporate data centre is as high.

Data centre managers have mastered the incremental improvement of multiple factors to ensure a successful whole. Therefore, transferring this skill to the cloud world seems an obvious step, allowing organisations to continually adjust solutions to ensure the best mix of value and performance.

So, while the death knell may appear to be sounding for the traditional data centre, the opposite is true for those with traditional data centre experience, who are incredibly well placed to ensure success in the hybrid cloud world.

Vicky Glynn is product manager at Brightsolid



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